PhD Studentship at Royal Holloway

PhD Studentship at Royal Holloway

Posted by Rebecca Martin on Wed, 22/05/2013 - 14:06

Fully funded PhD Studentship in Digital Public Health at Royal Holloway, University of London
Real-time epidemiology and epidemic containment using mobile communications and social media


Dr Chris Watkins
Reader in Computer Science, Royal Holloway, University of London
01784 443419 / 07739 355808

Dr Dorothea Kleine
Director of the ICT for Development (ICT4D) Centre,
Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London

Description of Project:

Smartphones and online social media potentially offer new ways to monitor and contain epidemics. Possible uses are to collect information about an epidemic while it is happening, to find out quickly how the disease is being spread, to trace and warn infectious contacts in real time, to provide personalised recommendations for social distancing, and to coordinate community-wide mutual assistance without people having to meet.

The student would implement demonstration public health applications for phones and social media and validate them experimentally as far as possible, and would analyse some of the significant ethical, managerial, and legal questions that such techniques would raise. These technologies and their potential consequences need to be considered broadly in their social context. What technologies would people be willing to use, and what might the obstacles be to their adoption?

The emphasis of the project is developing and prototyping potentially useful and effective digital technologies for public health. That is, the aim is practical digital public health engineering rather than theoretical modelling.

It does not specifically involve using machine learning, although there is scope for using machine learning in some components of the demonstration systems.

This project would suit a motivated person with initiative, who enjoys developing social media or mobile phone applications, and who is interested in public health and the associated social and ethical issues.

Support: The studentship is fully funded by Royal Holloway itself, covering home/EU fees and living expenses of £15,726 per year for three years.

How to apply: Please contact Chris Watkins by phone or email as soon as possible: the studentship needs to be filled by May 31st.